By Rebekah Ison, Alicia Bolton

Australia may soon need to buy nuclear reactors when China becomes the world’s lead suppler in nuclear technology, Ziggy Switkowski says.

Mr Switkowski, former chair of the Australian Science and Technology Association, said nuclear power is the only renewable energy source which delivers adequate supply and reduced carbon emissions.

Shanghai nuclear plant. Photo: Jakob Montrasio on Flickr

“You cannot get there without having an alternative to coal and gas that produces base load round the clock, 365 days a year,” Mr Switkowski said.

Australian Greens’ Western Australia senator, Scott Ludlam, denied nuclear is the only viable option to coal fuel.

Senator Ludlam said renewable energy technology has improved exponentially within the last decade which really changes the game where nuclear energy is concerned.

“In Spain and the United States is where the most exciting activity is happening for solar thermal plants that you can run without sunlight for up to 15 or 16 hours,” Mr Ludlam said.

China’s nuclear boom occurred while many countries around the world begin to phase out nuclear power plants.

Senator Ludlam said little information has been allowed out of China which shows concerns for the safety and quality of their products.

“The industry itself isn’t particularly well understood. We do know that they are in an enormous hurry and that in itself poses really serious risks with technology as unforgiving as this,” Mr Ludlam said.

RELATED LINK: China Nuclear Power Industry – A Comparative Study, by the The Nuclear Engineering Department at University of California, Berkley.

REALTED VIDEO: Worries on China’s nuclear safety, on YouTube. (In Chinese)